Releasing my coffee addiction - a reflection

Has every­one recovered from adjust­ing their clocks for day­light sav­ings? I know I finally have…because that day was the day we decided in our house to release our depend­ence on coffee…cold tur­key.

But why you ask? I can already feel the anxi­ety and hear the pan­ick­ing from cof­fee-lov­ers read­ing this blog, and the miri­ad of sci­entif­ic lit­er­at­ure people will begin quot­ing as to the many reas­ons we should drink cof­fee.

This is not a pro vs. cons, yes vs. no, good vs. bad blog post. This is a reflec­tion of my exper­i­ence over the last few weeks, and why I’m con­tinu­ing to reduce my cof­fee con­sump­tion.

You see, I totally love cof­fee. I also love that I can put sug­ars (honey and agave, while nat­ur­al, it’s still sug­ar) and milks in them (goat or coconut for me). I love the feel­ing of hav­ing cof­fee, I love the taste, and let’s face it, I love the buzz. Caffeine from cof­fee gives this non-morn­ing per­son a needed jolt so she can get mov­ing.

The chal­lenge of course is that too much of a good thing, well, is just too much. Starting with one cup is fine, but then if you’re tired, the cups just keep adding up. I am not a per­son who thrives well on that much caf­feine; more than 2 cups and I’m jit­tery, anxious, impuls­ive, and I crave sug­ar like crazy. The more sweets, the bet­ter. The caf­feine crash isn’t pleas­ant, and my already sens­it­ive stom­ach tends to ache.

Of course, how did I end up in such a place? Normal life, just like every­one else. Health care pro­fes­sion­als are notori­ously ter­rible at tak­ing care of them­selves, push­ing them­selves and their dead­lines so they can be there for every­one else. As well, habits that make us feel good in the short-term are that much more dif­fi­cult when it’s a pain­ful detach­ment from the item, like caf­feine addic­tion!

So why the cold turkey approach?

There is nev­er a good time to begin any­thing you really know you should do, but really aren’t motiv­ated to do, either by fear of pain, or dis­lik­ing change, or inconvenience…so many reas­ons that we can delay our pro­cess. For myself, the pain of not chan­ging always has to be more than the change itself. One of my favour­ite quotes goes as fol­lows:

To reach for some­thing great­er, you must first let go of what’s in your hand.

My great­er motiv­a­tion was to feel more groun­ded and more like the per­son I know I am, but I felt for some reas­on, cof­fee was get­ting in the way. I was start­ing to feel gross, dehyd­rated, and I didn’t like the anxious-like sen­sa­tion in my body. I just didn’t feel like me. Coffee of course is not the only reas­on I didn’t feel like myself, but it is an easy begin­ning to a series of changes I had already ini­ti­ated 6 – 8 months ago in tak­ing care of myself. The decision made itself; we ran out of cof­fee at home, and decided not to buy any­more.

Will I still have coffee again?

Did I men­tion I love cof­fee? I’ve already had some. I’ve had it once each week, on Sunday morn­ing with a late break­fast as a treat. So really, it hasn’t been that long, I know. For a chron­ic every­day-for-8-years cof­fee drink­er, I’m still very happy with my pro­gress. My goal was not to com­pletely elim­in­ate it from my life, but to feel bet­ter in my body. Low to mod­er­ate con­sump­tion of cof­fee for me is def­in­itely bet­ter, and I’m com­fort­able with that. It doesn’t have to be all or noth­ing, a health jour­ney; it has to be what you’re com­fort­able with in your­self.

What I am drinking in the meantime…

I’ve fallen back in love with tea. Being Canadian with very Irish genes, I’ve been drink­ing all of the teas I like — rooibos, green, black, herb­al (nettle, chamo­mile, pep­per­mint, ginger), and hon­estly I don’t know why I had been restrict­ing myself to one type of bever­age. I’ve also had quite a bit of hot water with lem­on — good for the ol’ liv­er.

Final word

Changes are easy when you’re abso­lutely ready to make them. The rate at which you make the change is always per­son­al, but it’s nev­er too late and it’s always pos­sible.

Good luck to all of you that are in your pre-change phases; you’ll release when you’re ready!

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